After more than ten years running successful technology ventures in Scotland, Gordon Povey says he has learned that the key to success as an entrepreneur lies in "persevering with focus and determination but also with a willingness to learn things".

The electronics expert, who has led a range of companies in fields like cellular phone technology, showed his readiness to learn by returning to study on the Entrepreneurship Development Program at the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011.

The thought of completing the course at the American hothouse was a daunting prospect for Mr Povey, even with a track record that includes seeing the value of one firm he developed increase from £1 to £1.7 million within four years.

But he came away happy that Scotland is not doing badly in terms of entrepreneurship, a topic about which there has been much soul searching in the country in recent years.

"I realised that not only are we not that bad but we are very much above average. We're actually quite well equipped compared with people from around the world," says Mr Povey.

"One major thing I came back from MIT was a lot of confidence that we are able to do things right."

The 51-year-old recalls that he came near the top in a competition that involved developing plans for a new business, with a proposal for an online micro-trading facility to help fishermen in Africa find buyers for their catches.

However, he stresses that he learned an awful lot at MIT, where the programme featured many sessions with successful entrepreneurs and useful case studies.

A key lesson was that "making mistakes and learning from them is how you become an entrepreneur.... accepting that things will fail".

A corollary of that lesson Mr Povey found is that it is better to fail fast.

The Glasgow-born executive says firms in areas like technology must not spend ages over-engineering things that might not be wanted by others. People who are bringing new products to market should only build the minimum needed to make a sale, to avoid wasting time and money churning out goods they may have to throw away.

He appreciated the advice given to students at MIT that they should always assign personas to the people they hope to sell to. This will help them remember that the customer has to come first.

The lesson reinforced what experience had taught him.

"People are not looking for technologies, they are looking for solutions to problems," notes Mr Povey.

He adds: "With product development you may think you know what to build but unless you go out and test it with customers you could get it wrong. If you read text books they tell you this but most people learn it the hard way, I certainly did."

These days the father of two is applying the lessons he has learned to his work at the Dukosi battery technology business in Edinburgh. He took the helm at the firm in January following the tragic death of its founder Stephen Churcher in a bicycle accident last August.

The company began life as a chip design house but Mr Povey decided the best prospects for the firm lay in a technology it had developed to boost the efficiency of car batteries.

"I looked and thought the opportunity was not so much in chip design as in producing a system."

Dukosi says its Electric Vehicle Optimisation Integrated Circuit, which monitors the performance of the cells in batteries, significantly extends the range of a vehicle from a single charge. It reckons the technology can also lengthen the useful lives of batteries and make it easier to recycle or sell them.

Before making any sales of EVOIC, Mr Povey is hugely excited about the potential for the firm to make inroads into a market that could become huge if sales of electric cars increase as expected.

He was one of the speakers at a recent event organised by the Scottish Government to highlights opportunities in the sector, which was attended by manufacturing giants such as Nissan.

He also spent time in Asia recently talking to potential buyers of the technology and investors. Dukosi has generated strong interest in the area, where new manufacturers of vehicles and components are emerging who are ready to adapt new technologies.

The focus on Asia provides the latest example of an ability to read the patterns of change on the part of a man who has witnessed huge advances in technologies and markets over the years.

The son and grandson of engineers Mr Povey spent seven years lecturing at Edinburgh University in the 1990s after completing a doctorate in cellular communications.

He specialised in electric communications technology that could make more effective use of the spectrum that carries signals from one side of the world to the other.

Perhaps unusually for the age, he spent much of his time in the groves of academe thinking about becoming a businessman.

"I was always looking for technology to spin out... I was really quite keen to get out into industry and to start my own company."

In 1999 Mr Povey took that enterprising mindset to Elektrobit, a Finnish company where he worked on early mobile phone technology. The job involved getting to know Nokia.

Mr Povey went on to set up a UK business for Elektrobit in third generation communications and came up with a technology that could figure out where a phone was by using software not hardware. This is the kind of work done by GPS systems.

He ended up leading a management buyout after deciding Elektrobit were not likely to provide the support he wanted for the venture.

"The choice I had was either to drop it or try doing something myself if I could get external funding."

The firm, which became Trisent, subsequently showed there was a market for the kind of locator technology concerned.

Four years after buying the business for £1 Mr Povey sold it to Artilium for £1.7m in late 2007.

While Mr Povey made a significant amount from the sale, the payment included shares in Aim-listed Artilium that were issued before the market crashed in 2008.

"You live and learn," muses Mr Povey, who left to work on other early stage busineses. He led efforts to turn light communication technology developed at Edinburgh University into what became a company called Pure and raised £1.5m for the venture.

Mr Povey's experience might inspire other academics to join the push to commercialise some of the technology being developed in Scotland's universities.

After spending plenty of time in both boardrooms and labs Mr Povey believes people who work in universities have much to be grateful for.

"It's a great luxury being an academic. You get a reasonable salary you get massive amounts of freedom to pursue your own research, you can build little empires, there's lots of places you can apply for funding, you can work with industry, with people around the world."

But he believes those who decide to take the plunge will find that Scotland compares well with the USA when it comes to support networks.

Noting that entrepreneurial academics in places like Pennsylavia complain hopefuls must move to Boston or Silicon Valley to win backing, he says: "They are worse off than we are in the Central Belt of Scotland."